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Considerations in and the Interest Level for Sailing in June with RCL (Bahamas) or Celebrity (St. Maartin).


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I'm with some here who say if they are going to fly to Nassau or St. Maartin, they're going to stay in a resort there. I feel the same way partly based on what I've written above that amounts to a risky undertaking that has to go down just about perfectly. Partly the travel hassle to the cruise port when I'm used to jumping aboard with a Uber ride from our home to Port Everglades. But here's the rough cost to cruise on Millennium out of St. Maartin for me:

Round Trip FTL, AA X2: $650 

Sonesta Ocean Point resort (all inclusive - 1 night on the front and back end of the Millennium cruise): $500/night (includes 21% tax on a $417 rate for 2 adults), $1000

RT Transportation to/from the resort and to/from the ship: $100

Negative COVID RT/PCR test costs/associated entry fees X2: $200

Incidentals $300 

Veranda State Room. I'm not buying the $2k pp including air and their new "everything included" line so, I priced this with my own air.  A typical 7n, Easter Caribbean Veranda cabin goes for around $1800pp tax and port fees included. I'll go with a cruise fare for 2 of $3600 or $257/N pp

That's $5850 for a 7n itinerary. Hi, IMO, at least for my tastes. I could find cheaper accommodations. Safer? Probably not. 

 

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Outside of Royal we've been on two other cruise lines, once each, Carnival (first cruise, 3 day, themed, lots of lessons learned), other was NCL.

Overall, we enjoyed the NCL product, freestyle dining, etc. We were NOT a fan of the ship, we sailed the GEM and it just had a weird layout and flow.

We've discussed trying the newer ships and will as soon as things normalize. They had me at go-carts!

One of my favorite jobs when I was a younger lad, worked for a go-cart place that also had paintball and a small arcade. The go-carts ran on propane, oh the stories I have... Any Bergen County NJ peeps? 

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5 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

I'm surprised how many normally reputable hotel chains get subpar reviews in Nassau.

Just a guess, but going to assume a "Hilton" buys a hotel in Nassau. Before (or even after) they implement the Hilton way, it's still run the old way, by the same management. At the core it's still a run down hotel.

I remember trying to save people money for my bachelor party. The best man and I found a hotel next to the Tropicana in Atlantic City NJ. It was a hotel property owen by the Wyndham group. The photos looked nice so we gave it a shot. The hotel definitely didn't live up to the Wyndham name, it was trash, 2 stars at best. Everything from wacky parking, a messed up reservation, shady staff, and possible mold.

Years later at an RV show at a local community college there was a booth for Wyndham. I stopped for a second and looked. The nice gentleman called me over. I quickly explained my experience in Atlantic City and how I'd more than likely never stay at one of their properties again. They actually acknowledged some of their properties aren't what you'd expect from a wyndham experience.

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1 hour ago, JeffB said:

 

That's $5850 for a 7n itinerary. Hi, IMO, at least for my tastes. I could find cheaper accommodations. Safer? Probably not. 

 

As someone who has to include airfare and precruise accommodations with every cruise that is about a standard price for me ūüėě

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13 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

I'm surprised how many normally reputable hotel chains get subpar reviews in Nassau.

I’m not surprised at all. I wouldn’t stay at a Ritz Carlton in Nassau. Give it a try & report back. I’ve been way too many times and experienced the hotel service across the board from your average Hilton to the Baha Mar resort and the service is the same everywhere. You can’t evaluate this based on a resort day pass alone.

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14 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

I'm surprised how many normally reputable hotel chains get subpar reviews in Nassau.

Everything thing in the islands run on island time with island mentality.

Some mainlanders have big city mainland expectations but that's really hard to implement in the islands.   Just because a big name chain owns the property isn't going to change the island it sits on.  Reviews reflect that.  Perhaps that isn't fair or perhaps it is depending on your viewpoint.  

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45 minutes ago, twangster said:

Everything thing in the islands run on island time with island mentality.

Some mainlanders have big city mainland expectations but that's really hard to implement in the islands.   Just because a big name chain owns the property isn't going to change the island it sits on.  Reviews reflect that.  Perhaps that isn't fair or perhaps it is depending on your viewpoint.  

Fair or not it is the reality. Very nice summation.

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12 hours ago, sk8erguy1978 said:

One of my favorite jobs when I was a younger lad, worked for a go-cart place that also had paintball and a small arcade. The go-carts ran on propane, oh the stories I have... Any Bergen County NJ peeps? 

Born and raised, although I don't live in that county any more.

That job wouldn't happen to have been at (Class) Action Park, by any chance? Only place I know of from back in the day that had go-karts (although I think those were regular gas-powered and not propane), but I don't remember them also having paintball or an arcade in the adult section.

For those unfamiliar with it, there was a documentary about the place just recently on HBO, actually titled "Class Action Park". That place is one of the surest ways to confirm your street cred as a certified northern NJ (and to some extent, tri-state area) child of the 80s. Even more so if you actually worked there. I never got the chance, my parents heard the horror stories before I could even think of trying to apply.

And I think I'm kind of glad for that.

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3 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Born and raised, although I don't live in that county any more.

That job wouldn't happen to have been at (Class) Action Park, by any chance? Only place I know of from back in the day that had go-karts (although I think those were regular gas-powered and not propane), but I don't remember them also having paintball or an arcade in the adult section.

For those unfamiliar with it, there was a documentary about the place just recently on HBO, actually titled "Class Action Park". That place is one of the surest ways to confirm your street cred as a certified northern NJ (and to some extent, tri-state area) child of the 80s. Even more so if you actually worked there. I never got the chance, my parents heard the horror stories before I could even think of trying to apply.

And I think I'm kind of glad for that.

Traction Park? I WISH! LOL. I LOVED that place. I actually lived in NY and the drive to Action Park would have been too far, plus didn't get my license until 1996 (after turning 18 - I was a year+ learners permit guy - dad didn't think I was mature enough, probably right ūüôā). I still remember the little seated car on the single rail taking you over 94 to go back and forth from the "motorway" section. They had a few different go-carts and the ones that required a drivers license, they let me drive them with my learners permit - fun fact, that's how I memorized my drivers license ID from going on that ride so much. The alpine slide, bungee jump, the wave pool, insane slides, what I wouldn't give for 1 more day in a place like that! ūüôā

I was talking about Speedway 17 on route 17 North in Upper Saddle River. It originally had two go-cart tracks one was for the little guys, small little orange electric cars. They turned the electric car track into the paintball section. We would use the little electric cars on the other track when needed (usually just bday parties). The other track had the larger go-carts sprint style. We would toss this powder on the track so it would be slippery. We would purposely let it "dry up" to get the cars to go faster. It was indoors and propane, when the ceiling fans broke, oh boy, it got smoky. They were regular Honda - lawnmower style - engines. The owner also owned the big arcade in Paramas, Sportsworld I believe was the name.

 

I still have the t-shirt, wanted to frame it LOL.ÔŅľ

PXL_20210322_172819873.jpg

Edited by sk8erguy1978
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19 hours ago, JeffB said:

I'm with some here who say if they are going to fly to Nassau or St. Maartin, they're going to stay in a resort there. I feel the same way partly based on what I've written above that amounts to a risky undertaking that has to go down just about perfectly. Partly the travel hassle to the cruise port when I'm used to jumping aboard with a Uber ride from our home to Port Everglades. 

I'm re-thinking this based on what's coming out from various sources. Sometime in mid January based on a lot of optimism that cruising from American ports would resume by the end of May, I booked a 7n Caribbean Itinerary out of PEV on Celebrity Equinox starting June 13th using some of my FCCs. Based on the progress the EU seemed to be making up to just recently, I also booked a Celebrity Reflection 7n itinerary out of Amsterdam to Norway. I also booked air via Celebrity. The fares were high but the risks of delays outweigh those costs. Worth it I thought. 

I've asked my TA to jump in line on Thursday morning to book Millennium out of St Martin in June. If it's practical and she can get through to a sales rep, she'll put a cabin on hold and call me with details. If the cancellation and Millennium fares are reasonable, I'll book Millennium and cancel Equinox. Based on how Europe plays out before April 20th (final payment for the reflection cruise) I'll re-consider that one too.

Fast changing game!!!

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Only comment I'll make on the St. Maarten departure is that it means flying into the airport at Maho Beach. With its scarily short runway.

I know, I know. Dozens of flights in and out every day, going back decades. Doesn't make it any less nerve-wracking for me if I knew I was on one of those flights actually taking off from or landing on that little thing in a jumbo jet.

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10 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Only comment I'll make on the St. Maarten departure is that it means flying into the airport at Maho Beach. With its scarily short runway.

I know, I know. Dozens of flights in and out every day, going back decades. Doesn't make it any less nerve-wracking for me if I knew I was on one of those flights actually taking off from or landing on that little thing in a jumbo jet.

Start and end the cruise with an adrenaline surge ... 

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12 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Only comment I'll make on the St. Maarten departure is that it means flying into the airport at Maho Beach. With its scarily short runway.

I know, I know. Dozens of flights in and out every day, going back decades. Doesn't make it any less nerve-wracking for me if I knew I was on one of those flights actually taking off from or landing on that little thing in a jumbo jet.

I've always thought the takeoff is more harrowing since there is a giant mountain in front of the runway

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12 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Only comment I'll make on the St. Maarten departure is that it means flying into the airport at Maho Beach. With its scarily short runway.

I know, I know. Dozens of flights in and out every day, going back decades. Doesn't make it any less nerve-wracking for me if I knew I was on one of those flights actually taking off from or landing on that little thing in a jumbo jet.

If you're coming from the US, your chances of flying a jumbo jet are pretty small. Most likely a 737/A320 family aircraft. Maybe someone will fly an occasional A330/767 while they're still around, but I am not sure. Most of the planes between the US and St. Maarten (and most of the Caribbean) are in the 150 seat range, so fairly small. 

14 minutes ago, Matt said:

I've always thought the takeoff is more harrowing since there is a giant mountain in front of the runway

I know this is just a discussion, but the aero engineer and pilot in me kicks in here ūüôā

The rate of climb and hard right turn after takeoff make sure the aircraft never get very close to the mountain. Not something to worry about, in reality. 

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11 minutes ago, Zacharius said:

The rate of climb and hard right turn after takeoff make sure the aircraft never get very close to the mountain. Not something to worry about, in reality. 

Oh, I agree. It's not every day there's a mountain in front of a runway. 

Going back to @JLMoran comment, as someone with a deep rooted fear of flying, it's irrational.  Irrational fears are difficult to argue away with facts, because logic doesn't apply (hence the irrational part). 

I do take some solace in thinking about how many other planes did same flight yesterday, the day before, the week before, the month before, etc. But the worry is always there.

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13 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Only comment I'll make on the St. Maarten departure is that it means flying into the airport at Maho Beach. With its scarily short runway.

I know, I know. Dozens of flights in and out every day, going back decades. Doesn't make it any less nerve-wracking for me if I knew I was on one of those flights actually taking off from or landing on that little thing in a jumbo jet.

Come on now, it's not just about size...

That length at sea level is arguably better than a longer runway at an airport like Denver at elevation on a hot summer day.   Despite the extra long runways in Denver they continue to kick off passengers, baggage, cargo and sometimes fuel just to take off in the summer. 

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